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The Reasons Behind Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Young People

by kelebek - February 13th, 2009.
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AlcoholismDestructive effects of drug and alcohol abuse are well known, but still the problem of drinking and using drugs by American teenagers and youth remains topical in our modern society. The reasons why young people go on destroying their lives include their desire to feel grown up, to fit into their social environment, to improve own self-esteem or to get rid of some emotional problems, as well as natural enjoyment as a result of narcotic effects, etc. The consequences of alcohol and drug abuse may vary from psychological problems, inability to succeed in life, problems with building relationships and finding a job, a light dependence and predisposition to consumption of such substances, to more dangerous outcomes, like heavy dependence, aggression and violence, suicidal behavior or death.

It is possible to name several most influential reasons why drug and alcohol abuse remains so common among modern youth. In my opinion, the most considerable contribution to this should be attributed to purposeful direct promotion of alcoholism and drug consumption in our mass media, especially in cinema and TV. For example, there are many popular TV series, like Mad Men, in which smoking and alcohol abuse (as well as sexual harassment and racial discrimination) at the workplace are highlighted. Moreover, drinking is indirectly promoted even in such “family-oriented” comedy TV series like Two and a Half Men, Desperate Housewives or Scrubs.

Keanu Reeves

There are quite a few cinema movies, where alcohol or drug consumption does not take place or plays no important role in the plot. A great number of Hollywood movies visualize alcohol or drug abuse without direct condemnation of this terrible habit. Moreover, such movies as animated film A Scanner Darkly featuring Keanu Reeves or the movie The Basketball Diaries starring Leonardo Di Caprio picture daily routine of drug users and the way their addiction replaces more important things in their life. Alcoholism is also presented in many Hollywood movies, and due to such “tolerance” to drinking in our mass media, a common idea about modern superhero can be put to picturing a middle-aged man with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whisky in the other.


One more important reason is public behavior of the majority of American music or cinema stars and idols, who are repeatedly reported to be caught drunk or being under effect of some substances. In particular, an idol of many teenage girls Britney Spears is, probably, one of the most successful “promoters” of alcohol and drug abuse. In January 2008 she was reported to be taken to a hospital being under effect of some drugs. A young and talented American actress Lindsay Lohan was several times arrested and charged for driving under effect of alcohol. In 2008, another famous actor, a star of popular TV series 24 Kiefer Sutherland was sentenced to spending more than a month in jail for drunk driving. In this context, it is possible to talk about a great number of celebrities, such as Amy Winehouse, Whitney Huston, Mick Jagger, Kate Moss, Robin Williams, Paris Hilton and many others.

Family Alcoholism

Finally, one more significant reason which triggers improper behavior of youth and increases drugs or alcohol consumption is dealing with drinking parents. In the majority of the situations, alcoholism in the family results in such negative social effects, as constant quarreling and misunderstandings between the parents, divorce or a serious disease of a family member. Needless to say that it affects children and teenagers, who sooner or later try to forget their problems and stresses with the help of drugs or alcohol. In conclusion, it is necessary to mention that in order to lower the amount of drinking and drug abuse among our modern youth and teenagers, it would be very effective to decrease the exposure of American young people to any examples of alcohol and drugs consumption, both in mass media and in real life

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